Hello December!

It’s hard to believe that it is already December 1st, but it is!!!!

I was able to switch out the Fall/Thanksgiving Decorations for December.

Here is what our house looks like inside:

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I’m going to try to blog everyday this month. You can check back tomorrow for a roundup of the Best of the End of the Year Projects & Reflective activities.

Think At Solutions… Not Problems!

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Image: Courtesy of Lifehack
I recently attended the State of Black Chicago organized by our City Clerk: Dorothy Brown. Black Chicago has several crises including a dwindling population and a community ravaged by youth violence. There were committees that were organized around several areas including: [list the nine areas].
Throughout the day, representatives from each of the respective areas were asked to identify the major problems or challenges within their areas, but they were also asked to identify solutions that the group came up with. How many times do we have problems in our communities, our families or our lives and we focus most of our energy on the problem… Those problems look and sound like:
1. I don’t have enough money to pay all of my bills.
2. I have a horrible relationship with a close family member.
3. I’m unhappy with myself or with my life.
4. I hate my church and feel like I’m out of touch with God.
5. I have too much on my plate.
This list goes on and on. What I encourage you to do is ACKNOWLEDGE the problem and then spend the rest of your mental, physical and emotional energy thinking at the solution. If you don’t have enough money to pay your bills you can do one of the following, get a second job, go back to school to get certification and money that will allow you to make more money in your current position or start a side hustle.
If you have a horrible relationship with a family member, you can either decide to no longer deal with that family member or you can write that person a letter to tell them exactly how you feel. If you have too much on your plate, you can start saying no and turning over some of your responsibilities to others who have more time available.
You can’t solve a problem with more of the problem, you can only solve a problem by considering a solution. Imagine how silly it would look if fire fighters tried to fight fire with more fire. So start now, what are the biggest problems in your life and what can you do to address those problems?

What is your ideal schedule?

We often think about our ideal career, relationship or even house. I had two doctor’s appointments scheduled in one day earlier this week which required me to take off work and while sipping my Venti Iced White Mocha in a swanky Chicago college neighborhood, staring at my laptop and people watching, I started thinking about my ideal schedule.

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 Donnie’s Ideal Schedule: 
6:00 a.m. – 7:00 a.m.   Wake up and prepare breakfast for the family
7:00 a.m. – 7:30 a.m.   Drop my step son off at school
7:30 am. – 9:30 a.m.    Time to write… update my blog
9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.  Work out with a trainer (ideally this would happen on a daily basis)
10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.   Work on projects/organizations/businesses
1:30 pm. – 3:00 p.m.      Run errands… shop for groceries, etc.
3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.      Pick up step son from school
3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.      Prepare Dinner
4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.       Family Time – eat dinner, maybe take a nap
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.      Entertainment – TV, social media
8:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.    Scrapbooking Time
10:30 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.   Pillow Talk with hubby
11:30 p.m. – 12:30 a.m.    Sleep!!!
My ideal schedule would allow me to work during my peak alert time (7:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.). It would allow me feed my spirit with creativity (scrapbooking & writing) and when I become a mom it will allow me to spend the majority of my time with my child.
My ideal schedule would allow my office to be mobile and it would involve working with other creatives & idealists.
My family is the most important thing to me, so it would allow us to have at least one meal together (breakfast or dinner) if not both and I would end my day cuddling with my hubby.
Now, I’m going to start planning toward making my ideal schedule a reality. What is your ideal schedule?

Beautiful Flowers for the Season

Last summer I delved into gardening a little bit. I created a beautiful end of summer/fall collection: https://donnienicole.com/2012/08/18/making-an-entrance-more-yard-projects/. At the beginning of the summer I started with two little containers on the porch https://donnienicole.com/2012/06/27/trying-to-make-things-grow/. Last summer was our first year in the house and I didn’t want to do too much so I kept it pretty simple.

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I went with a friend to three plant nurseries this past weekend. The first place we went was called Gethsemane Garden Center . They had everything from annuals (plants that only last a year/season) to perennials (plants that come back year after year), to shrubs. I also fell in love with the options they had for containers.

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The second place we went where I purchases most of plants was called Orchids by Hausermann. Not only did they have a huge orchid garden, but they also had a hefty collection of plants and flowers at excellent prices. Here are some of the orchids:

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This place had about two football fields of orchids in every color, shape, variety and stage of growth!

Most of the flats were $15.99 a piece. A flat is a tray full of the same variety of flowers. Then they had a great deal for annuals where if you bought 12, you got them at $3.99 per flower instead of $4.99 per flower. Both rates were the best out of the 3 nurseries we went to.

Here are the flowers I went with:

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These border the bushes in the front of my house.

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These are the flowers I bought for the two containers on my porch. The old ones were dead and never came back and I decided I’d plant annuals since annuals are known for their color versus perennials which come back every year.

Here is the finished product:

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Here is the container on my porch:

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And of course I couldn’t leave “The Orchid House” without any orchids so I bought two white ones for the dining room table. Both containers were also purchases at Hausermann’s:

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Playing in the dirt feels so good. It takes me back to my little girl days of being outside making mud pies and getting an extra layer of skin made out of dirt. Nature was created to heal our spirits by the creator.

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Spring Porch Inspiration

I’ve seriously got Spring Fever. I can’t wait to walk out of the house without a coat and open the windows to see a (warm) cloudy & misty day. Spring is when all things become new again. My home has a beautiful large rectangular porch:

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We didn’t do much last summer to the home, because we were so focused on the interior. This summer I’d like to create a relaxing and colorful outdoor space for us to enjoy as soon as the weather breaks. Here are some of my inspiration photos:

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I love the bright colors. I don’t think my guys will let me get away with pink furniture but I love the wicker and the big beautiful blooms of the hydrangeas.

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I love the little table to hold beverages and snacks. I don’t think I’ll do anything related to a holiday outdoors except for maybe Independence Day.

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I love all of the plants and particularly what they’ve done with containers and the corners of the porch. I’d love to get lots of beautiful containers!

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This space is so elegant. I love the dining table, although I don’t see us really doing a dining table for the front porch. I would like to add a deck or patio to the back of the home for outdoor formal dining. The pillows are fabulous, as is the mirror and the little tree.

I will keep you posted on the progress of our front porch. Do you take advantage of “outdoor living” space? Any recommendations for places to look for nice outdoorsy things?

Spotify Is Better Than Pandora… and iTunes!

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Change is hard, and if you’re using Pandora, it may be hard to convince you that there is something better. I’m still steaming due to the latest iTunes interface lift. It’s difficult to navigate!

Pandora has over 900,000 songs from over 90,000 artists.
Spotify has more than 15 million.
Pandora is simply a radio station, Spotify has a radio platform (where you can create a station based on an artist or a specific track) but it also has a another unique feature.
You can search for any track, album or artist and play a specific song from any album. When you first sign up for Spotify, it even syncs your iTunes libraries into the application. You can also create playlists and access the songs offline without incurring additional charges beyond your monthly subscription!
Think about the amount of space you will save over time by keeping your music “in the cloud.” Think about the amount of money you will save by using subscribing to Spotify Premium is $9.99 per month which gives you access on your computer, as well as your mobile devices. For $4.99 a month you can get unlimited access on your computer. Both subscription services are ad free.
If you love Pandora, you will be addicted to Spotify. Sign up here: https://www.spotify.com/us/

Week 2 – Organization Challenge – Brainstorming

Last week I started Wookiemouse’s organization challenge. Click here for more info: https://donnienicole.com/2012/11/10/organization-challenge-week-1-space-audit/

If the Scrap Fairy came to visit me, she’d leave a clean & tidy space where all of my supplies and materials were easily accessible. I need:

A ribbon jar. I don’t use ribbon on every layout but I’d like to be able to see all the ribbon I have.

A flower jar. I love paper and fabric flowers. It would be nice to put them in a jar because they look so pretty when they’re stored together.

A tape basket. Again, not something I use much of, but it would be nice to display it all together.

A metal box. For my brads and eyelets. For my bling embellishments (rhinestones).

A new memorabilia box. The current box is falling apart and its made out of fabric. I need one that is made of plastic (perhaps the creative memories box)?

Another major issue that I have is lighting. I need a bright light to shine on my desk when I’m working. I also have to figure out what to do with the wall above my cabinet.

I need my purple curtains which will be visually stimulating and some small speakers so that I can listen to music/Paperclipping Roundtable (PRT) Episodes. Here are some pics of my space right now:

 

 

I was going to display some of my current/favorite layouts and/or photos above the cabinet. My husband says he wants to put a TV in there and mount it on the wall (definitely not a bad idea either). So I don’t know what is going to happen to the space above the cabinet.

This is the closet inside of my office. I would like to have the wonderful folks from the container store come out to build ceiling to floor shelving as well as to install some lighting. That way I can have additional storage space for materials and supplies.

I go to crops pretty regularly and don’t want to have to “mess up” my room layout. I’m writing a note to self that rather than buying “random” embellishments, I purchase items with a specific page or project in mind.

My perfect room would also have a silhouette cameo, that way I can cut down on my use of Thickers. Thickers are great, but at $4.99 a pack, plus the unfortunate way that the stickers fall off and get attached to other things they aren’t supposed to be attached to, I’d like another option. I hear that the you can create a cut-out of any font on your computer with a silhouette cameo, which is a wonderful option for my crafting needs.